Showing posts from 2011

It's Christmas Eve!

I cannot believe it is Christmas already.  Today, we are getting ready to travel and be with family which means laundry and getting dishes done.  Bethany had to work until 2 so we watched The Nativity Story.  It is fun to watch the story as you think about the Scriptures.

In a few hours, we will gather as a family and open our last box for "What God Wants for Christmas" and read the Christmas story.  We have picked a book that has been most age appropriate for our kids yet stays true to Scripture.  After this, we will open presents.  For the last few years, we have done 3 presents for each of our kids to keep it simple.  I am looking forward to seeing their reactions.

We then eat chili together and get ready for church.  I always enjoy Christmas Eve Services as we sing carols and get to end with candle lighting.  I hope you are enjoying your own Christmas traditions today. Blessings upon you and your family.  Drive safely and enjoy the celebration of our Savior's birth.

Best Christmas Movies to watch with kids

Well, Christmas is almost here.  I don't know about you, but once the kids are out of school for a few days, I enjoy sitting around watching a good movie or two.  So, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

For Younger Kids:

Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas
Veggie Tales: The Little Drummer Boy (newest one)
Veggie Tales: It's a Meaningful Life
Veggie Tales: Madame Blueberry
Charlie Brown Christmas

For Older Children:

It's A Wonderful Life
The Nativity Story
A Christmas Story

I know I need to expand my repertoire of Christmas movies, but all of these are great to watch and great to discuss afterwards.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Are you a sinner or saint?

How would you answer that question?  Personally, I lean much more towards sinner.  But as we look at Scripture and better understand our identity in Christ, does that change the answer?  When we grapple with what Christ did through his life, death, and resurrection, does that impact how we see ourselves?  Is this just a theological debate or does it truly affect how we live the Christian life?

I am reading The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith.  His chapter entitled, "God Transforms" addresses the title of this post.  Smith argues that our narratives of being a sinner are false.  Before you get upset, he believes we still sin, but wonders if focusing on being a sinner fits with what Christ did on the cross and the rest of the New Testament . He reminds us that we are not under the power of sin any longer.  He says, "God is no longer dealing with you on the basis of your sin."  I look forward to discussing more of the details of this chapter during the Sun…

Christmas Devotions

As parents, how can we keep Jesus at the center of Christmas?  One of the ways we have used in the past is using a devotional book or activity during Advent.  We gather usually right after supper or at the dinner table and spend some time talking about the reason of the season.  For several years, we used "Adornaments" by Family Life.  They take the "I Am" passages of Scripture and have an ornament that has the day's reading inside and then you hang it on the tree.  I love this resource! However, it is out of print.

Another resource we have used is "The ADVENTure of Christmas" by Lisa Whelchel. "You take the good, you take the bad. . . The Facts of Life"  Yes, she was Blair on the Facts of Life.  She has written an excellent book that discusses the meaning behind the traditions of Christmas such as the tree, lights, etc.  We used this one last year.  It even has fun activities to go along with the stories.

This year we are using "What G…

Stop the Hop by Steven Furtick

This was one of my favorite posts of 2011 by Steven Furtick of Elevation Church.  You can visit his website here.

One of the things that really troubles me about the church today is the phenomenon of church hopping and church shopping. It’s a consumeristic mindset towards the body of Christ that grieves the heart of God.

It’s time for us to stop the hop. This isn’t Christianity. Jesus didn’t die so we could sample different churches like varieties of meat on a party platter. Jesus died to establish His church as the most powerful entity on the planet.

We are alive at the greatest time in history for the advance of the gospel. We have so much going for us.

We have the ability.
We have the resources.
We have the people.

What we don’t have is them committed to a place where they can actually be used for their God-ordained purpose.

If this generation doesn’t make the impact it should, it won’t be because it didn’t have the resources. Or even the passion. It will be because it was too b…

Children's Christmas Program

On Wednesday night, I was able to watch our Hide N Seek kids and fuzion students practice for the Christmas Program.  It was so exciting to see our children praising God and our 5th & 6th grade students reading Scripture & other readings and doing puppets.  There is nothing like watching children worship.  So, join us this Sunday at Hesston MB at 10:10 a.m. for our Children's Christmas program.

Days in Nebraska

Can someone tell me why whenever I visit Nebraska it is freezing cold? 

Despite the cold, it was a great two days away with my wife.  Bethany and I drove to Henderson, Nebraska on Sunday to set up for a book table at Bethesda Mennonite Church.  Faith & Life Bookstore, where Bethany is manager, has hosted a book table at this church for many years.  This was our second year to go.  I enjoy getting to see Bethany in action as a manager.  She has great ideas and does a great job helping customers. 

It was also a great treat to get away without the kids.  We are so thankful to have parents who help so graciously watch our kids when we are away.  We spent most of each day at the book table just reading and talking.  It was fun just to be together.  Then each evening we were able to go out and eat and have conversation without interruption (except for the loud group sitting next to us at Applebee's).  It was fun to get away from the routine and relax. An extra bonus was being togeth…

Book Review: The Love and Respect Experience

This devotional is based on the popular book by Emerson Eggerichs.  It has a great subtitle to get men to pick it up.  It says, "A Husband Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love." Why will men love it?  First of all, instead of becoming overwhelmed with 365 daily devotionals, this book only has one per week.  Second, the devotions tend to be short at only about 2-3 pages.  Third, it is easy to use as each devotional ends with a simple prayer prompt and an action step.  For those interested in using it in a small group or to go more in depth, Eggerichs also includes discussion questions for each week in the appendix.

What about the content?  I have not read Eggerichs book to compare, but I would assume based on the content of the devotionals that this would be a great resource for the person who does not like to read.  From my perspective, I think I understand many of the concepts from Eggerichs book by just reading the 52 devotionals.  Therefore, this can be a great help …

Thankful for . . .

Tonight at the dinner table, we talked about thankfulness.  I decided it would be fun to see how many times we could go around the table and share what we are thankful for.  The only rule was that we could not repeat what someone else had said.  It was a great opportunity to show the many things we have to be thankful for.  So, what are you thankful for today?

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Family Night with Operation Christmas Child

Last night was our Family Night when we fill Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  This is one of our best attended Family Nights.  We had about 120 people last night.  We had a great meal-thanks Rachel & Richelle & others who helped in the kitchen! After the meal, we sang a couple of songs from Seeds Family Worship.  We did my newest favorite, "More Than Conquerors" and then did "Light of the World" which involved some glow sticks.  Then each family read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 and I briefly talked about generosity and how we are to give to others.  At this point, the kids are getting anxious.  We watched a brief video from Samaritan's Purse describing what Operation Christmas Child is and where the boxes go and then it was GO time.  Each family enjoyed making cards for their child, filling it with toys, candy, art supplies, and hygiene items, and then praying for each box.  We finished 77 boxes thanks to the generosity of many people.  And I know a few m…

Fun Saturday

Yesterday was a great Saturday!  It started out by sleeping late.  For those who know me, this is a highlight. I love my sleep.  Then it was a lazy morning with the whole family at home.  It seems like this has not happened in several weeks.  Then Mitchell, Molly and I headed to the Turkey Shoot at the Middle School.  We had a good time and we each made a few free throws.  Bethany had to cover lunches at Faith and Life so Mackenzie and Megan went with her.

After the turkey shoot, we headed to Panda Kitchen for lunch.  It was tasty!  Then it was time for Mitchell to go to a basketball clinic at the high school.  So, Molly and I headed to the Wellness Center to swim.  We had fun playing some games and swimming around.  Towards the end, Molly decided she enjoyed the acoustics at the indoor pool and began making up songs.  Another lady in the pool commented on her singing and the "joy" she brought her as she sang.

We then picked up Mitchell and headed home.  Bethany and the girl…

Book Review: Impress Faith on Your Kids

I finished Mark Holmen's new book, Impress Faith on Your Kids on Thursday.  In the book, Holmen walks through Deuteronomy 6 and its implications for parents.  This is a good book to put into the hands of new parents as they seek how to pass on faith to their children.  Holmen does a great job of looking to specific verses from Deuteronomy 6 and making them practical in our day to day lives.  At the end of each chapter, Holmen writes a letter to a friend summarizing the content of the chapter.  At first, I thought this was redundant, but then I understood Holmen's heart for the friend to whom these letters were written. He explains how these letters were specifically written to someone who probably would never pick up his book. Holmen also includes questions for small group discussion at the end of each chapter.

The specific chapters focus on different aspects of parenting.  He starts with the goal of parenting which by the way is not good kids, smart kids, artistic kids, or at…

Gospel Centered Discipleship

Currently, I am serving on a committee at church called the Discipleship Ministries Committee.  It has replaced the Christian Education committee.  We have been discussing for a few months what we should focus on and what are responsibilities are.  One of the committee members sent us an email with a link to an article.  This article linked to a specific website called Gospel Centered Discipleship.  I went to the site and downloaded two free e-books. 

I started reading one of those e-books on Thursday.  It is called Grow: Reproducing through Organic Discipleship by Winfield Bevins.  I have not finished the e-book, but was challenged by several through provoking quotes.  Here are a few quotes from the introduction and first two chapters:

"In a similar way, a church's discipleship strategy must be structured enough to maintain order, but organic enough to change with the ongoing needs of the church as it grows or it will hinder its growth.""When Jesus said, "make…

Perk & Pork

Today has been a busy day!  I started my normal Thursday routine by heading to the Perk for coffee and reading.  I was blessed by the encouragement of a couple who stopped by for coffee on their way to a meeting.  You know who you are!  I  finished Holmen's book, Impress Faith On Your Kids and will write a review later this week.  I also started an e-book I received from Gospel Centered Discipleship.  You can visit the site here. I will share a few thought provoking quotes from this e-book later too. 

I also was able to spend some time today serving pulled pork at Kropf Lumber's Customer Appreciation Day.  It was a fun change of routine and kept me busy.  I enjoyed conversation with Jena as we served hundreds of sandwiches.  It was good to see many unfamiliar faces as I don't spend a lot of time at Kropf, not because it is not a nice store, but because I am handy-man challenged.  If something breaks at my house, I am not much help. Thanks Deb for the invitation!  

Check b…

Don't Forget the Lyrics

Occasionally, when flipping through channels, we as a family like to watch Don't Forget the Lyrics.  If you have never seen the show, contestants have to fill in missing lyrics once the music stops.  It brings to mind the argument about lyrics.  Just last week, Mitchell was asking if he could listen to other stations than 99.1 and 90.7.  We had the discussion about being discerning about music choices because words can get stuck in our heads.  I don't buy the "I just like the beat argument".  Lyrics stay with us.

Here is an example.  Yesterday, after a busy morning at church, I had gone downstairs to watch some TV and maybe take a nap.  The nap won.  I turned off the TV and was drifting off to sleep.  Then I heard Molly playing with dolls in the corner.  She was singing, "Our God will not be moved.  Our God will never be shaken."  Great lyrics to be singing!  But here is the point.  We had just sang this song at church that morning and had never sang it bef…

Judgment House: Yay or Nay?

So, Halloween has come and gone which also means that many churches have completed their Trunk or Treats, Harvest Festivals, or Judgment House.  These are all ways that the church has attempted to minister to people around Halloween.  For those who are unfamiliar with Judgement House, here is a link to the organization that provides resources.

I have to say that I am biased against Judgement House because of an experience in another state.  However, I have to ask myself if this is the best way to share the gospel.  I know many people accept Christ, but do they fully understand what it means to follow Christ?  Has the fear of hell forced a decision?  The reason I am asking is because of cautions from pastors like Matt Chandler, David Platt and Kyle Idleman who wonder if we are getting people to simply say a prayer without understanding what it means to follow Christ? 

So, what are your thoughts?  Are you in favor or against churches hosting Judgement House?

Francis Chan in Wichita

Last night, I had the opportunity to hear Francis Chan speak at Central Christian Church in Wichita.  He was speaking on behalf of World Impact.  For those who are unfamiliar, World Impact serves the urban poor in several cities throughout the United States.  Check them out here.  It was a great night of worship and the Word. 

Chan, as always, spoke some powerful and challenging words.  Here are a few notes that I took.  He shared about how he is serving in San Francisco in the Tenderloin.  Hey, GracePoint Youth, remember when we served there in 2001.  He has a prayer team of 20 individuals who start by praying for apartment buildings.  After prayer, Chan and others from his team start knocking on doors.  They ask two questions: What do you need? How can we pray?  I wonder how those two questions could impact lives where you and I live.

He challenged the church and its leaders to seriously consider how we interpret Scripture.  He wondered if we have made it too complicated.  He said h…

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to me!  No, it's not my wedding anniversary, but instead my work anniversary.  I began my ministry at Hesston MB on November 1, 2008.  So, today marks my anniversary.  I have enjoyed my 3 years in ministry at Hesston and have grown a lot as well.  I cannot wait to see how God is going to use me and the church in the future. 

As I reflect on 3 years of ministry, here are a few exciting things that God is doing (or has done) at Hesston MB:
Excitement & learning related to our CHRIST acrostic in Sunday School and small groups New ministries: CHICKS, movie ministry, D6 Dads, single parent ministries such as oil change & parents day outFive newcomer lunches over the last yearNew individuals and families plugging into ministriesDevelopment of a prayer team and monthly prayer meetingDiscussions occurring in Discipleship Ministries CommitteeIdeas percolating regarding strengthening marriages and how to minister to those in crisisConsistent, loving, faithful teache…

Good fun, good books, & good conversation

Today, I enjoyed some great food at Faith & Life Bookstore for Pastor Appreciation Month.  Way to go, Bethany!  It was fun to talk with some Newton pastors that we bumped into while eating.  And of course, a coupon is always a great addition.

After eating, Brad and I stayed at the bookstore to discuss a book we are reading as a staff.  It is The Legacy Path by Brian Haynes.  I have written a review of the book and highly recommend it to pastors and parents.  We are only in Chapter 2 and we cannot ever finish a chapter as it is so full of great thoughts and ideas.  Today, our discussion was on abiding.  We had a great conversation about what this means and what it looks like and how to share it with others. Haynes asks this question, "How do you currently abide in Christ?"  How would you respond?  I look forward to our discussion of that question when our Discipleship Ministries Committee meets next Tuesday.

Yesterday, I was at the Perk and I started a new book called, Th…

Marriage Conversations

Yesterday was a good day for marriage conversations.  I had two separate meetings where the topic was strengthening marriages & helping marriages in crisis.  I am excited about these new ministries within Hesston MB Church. 

My first conversation was regarding a ministry called Marriage 911.  This curriculum is used by churches to help those in crisis in their marriage.  It allows the church to walk alongside couples and become a place people turn to rather than avoid.  For more information, check out the website at here.

During this meeting, we also began planning a marriage seminar called "The Art of Marriage".  We will be hosting this seminar in February 2012.  We are looking at dates and locations as well as beginning to work on publicity.  This will be a Friday night and all day Saturday seminar that will help strengthen marriages.  My hope is that it will be well attended by the Hesston community. 

My afternoon meeting was discussing marriage mentoring.  I have fe…

Would You Rather?

Tonight, after we finished supper, the girls were in a hurry to leave the table.  I decided it would be fun to have some more conversation.  The girls looked at me like I was crazy.  By the way, Mitchell was at a birthday party at Pizza Hut.  So, I started by asking Would You Rather be a princess or President of the United States?  Or how about this one, would you rather be a hairy gorilla or slimy snake?  Or would you rather be an armpit or slimy mud (Molly's word for toe jam)?  The girls finally got into the conversation and came up with some good ones as well.  We all had some good laughs and  it was a fun way to spend a little extra time together as a family.  Try it tonight and see what your kids come up with.

Serving on a day off from school

Typically, on a day off from school, I will take the kids to Lincoln Perk, the park, or Wellness Center Pool.  Today, I wanted to do something a little different.  As I was praying about this, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to find a way for the kids to serve on their day off from school.  I felt led to contact the Hesston Resource Center to see what we could do for them.  It so happened (or better yet God orchestrated) that our church had just finished a food drive for the Resource Center for Thanksgiving. 

 So, we were able to take all of the bags of food donated and deliver them to the Resource Center. At the Resource Center, the kids weighed, counted, and sorted the donated food.  The kids had a great time doing it and it only took us about an hour. 

Thank you Hesston MB for your donation of 388 items which amounted to 373 pounds of food for Thanksgiving bags for our community!

Book Review: Intentional Integrity

I finished reading Intentional Integrity by Garnett Reid today.  The cover of the book states, "Ten Life Strategies For Wholeness From the Book of Job."  In the book, Reid looks specifically at Job Chapter 31 where he sees ten areas of integrity that should be present in our lives.  These ten areas include: purity, honesty, contentment, loyalty, equity, compassion, worship, forgiveness, confession, & stewardship. Each chapter has the same format: What Job Says, What We Face (our culture), & What We Must Do. 

The format made the book easy to read in many aspects.  However, I kept wondering to whom would I recommend this book.  The first part of each chapter at times became cumbersome and difficult to wade through.  However, due to the predictability of each chapter, I kept going to the less academic sections which looked to culture and application.  Reid is an Old Testament scholar and it shows in those sections of the book.  But I kept wondering, would others be wil…

Need A Boost?

Today, I am dragging.  I just could not get out of bed today.  Part of it is the change in weather and it still being dark outside when I wake up.  The other part is a cold that I am battling right now.  Either way, I could use a boost today.

What are things you do to get a boost on those slow start mornings?  Coffee, Running, Loud Music, Conversation with Friends,  Lifting Weights, Projects Around the House or Office, etc.

As we continue our study on being Holy Spirit Empowered, I am reminded of the word, "power", as it is used in relation to the Holy Spirit.  Many times we are told that we receive power from the Holy Spirit.  So, today I am going to ask for the Holy Spirit to give me a boost. Not just so I can get moving, but so I can be available to be used by Him as I go through my day.

Sterling Homecoming Pictures

Here are pictures from Sterling College Homecoming 2011.  All of the ladies in this picture were roommates during their years at Sterling.  Ed & I roomed together all 4 years.  Ed, Barry, Jenia & I all were business majors so we had a ton of classes together.  Robin & Barry have an RP Church connection.  That is all to say, we were connected to each other in many ways and are good friends.

These are the kids from these 3 marriages.  Molly & Gracie (in green Sterling shirts) & Sydney (red Sterling shirt on right) are Barry & Jenia's kids.   Caden (only other boy except Mitchell), Lydia (in pink on front row) & Kelsey (back row in red shirt) are Ed & Robin's kids.  The other four are mine.  They had fun playing together today on inflatables, games on Cooper Lawn, at petting zoos, at a football game, and a cookout after the game.

It was a beautiful day to spend with friends.  Needless to say, the Martin's as usual forgot our sunscreen.

Sterling Homecoming

I am so excited to be headed to Sterling College Homecoming tomorrow.  My kids are just about as excited as we are.  We didn't make it back last year because Bethany had to work at Fall Fest which is Bethel's Homecoming.  Boo! It just felt weird to be on Bethel's campus when we really wanted to be at our alma mater.  Tomorrow will include a parade, pancake feed, games for the kids on campus, football game, cookout at friend's house, and of course seeing friends from the college days.

Sterling will always hold special memories for me.  It was where I met my beautiful wife the first day on campus and experienced love at first sight.  She was a little slower to realize it about me.  This is where my faith in Christ grew deeper.  It is also where I received a great education in business/accounting as well as a great foundation in Christian Education.  It is where I made some of my best friends.  It is where God orchestrated a call into ministry.  It also allowed me to begin…

Huddle Up Family Night

Last night, we had our first Family Night of the year.  The theme was "Huddle Up".  I used a curriculum called F3 published by Standard.  It is well organized and done well.  I have done several family nights in the past, but felt this one did a great job of keeping attention and still keeping the Bible as central.

I asked my kids what their favorite part of the evening was and they all responded the skit.  It was really funny!  Thank you Tahlia, Simon, Joanna, Rick & Hank for being such good sports!

I thought all of the pieces of the curriculum work really well together.  From the activity to the skit to the discussions about the Bible passage, it all works together seamlessly.  Way to go, Standard on this resource!  But I still have to say that my favorite part of each and every Family Night is looking out and seeing families eating together, laughing together, reading the Bible together, and talking together.   I am exhausted at the end of Family Night, but the image …

Recommend Resources

Tonight is Family Night at Hesston MB.  I am looking forward to food, fun, & learning together as families.  I will share more about it on Thursday or Friday.  Today, I want to share my recommended resources that I put together each year for those who attend.

Anthony, Michelle. Spiritual Parenting. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010.
Castleman, Robbie.  Parenting in the Pew.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993.
Dobson, James.  Preparing for Adolescence.  Ventura: Gospel Light, 2006.
Fowler, Larry.  Raising A Modern Day Joseph.  Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2009.
Haynes, Brian. The Legacy Path. Nashville: Randall House, 2011.
Holmen, Mark.  Faith Begins At Home.  Ventura: Regal, 2005.
Ingram, Chip.  Effective Parenting in a Defective World.  Carol Stream: Tyndale House,  2006.
Kimmel, Tim.  Grace Based Parenting.  Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. Rienow, Rob.  Visionary Parenting.  Nashville: Randall House, 2009.
Tripp, Tedd.  Shepherding a Child’s Heart.  Pennsylvania: Sheph…

Birthday Cake for Traci

When I arrived home today, I was greeted by Molly and Jacob and their "dirt" cakes in the driveway.  Molly explained to me that hers was for Aunt Traci.  That was interesting since Molly does not have an Aunt Traci.  Then she explained to me that she went to eat at Pizza Hut for Aunt Traci's birthday and I was getting more confused.  Finally, I got the scoop from Bethany.  Molly went to eat with Traci Thiessen today for a birthday lunch and since everyone around her was calling her Aunt Traci, Molly decided to join in too.

That girl is always making me laugh.  But it just reminds me of the simplicity of a child's world.  It was not weird for her to call her Aunt Traci because that was what she heard.  It not unusual to have a great imagination that can make birthday cakes out of dirt or pies out of sand.  It just reminded me of the joy of being a child.  What do you miss from when you were a child?

By the way, Family Night at Hesston MB tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.  …

Highs for the Week

I wanted to share some highlights from the last week.  I continue to want to practice thankfulness for the many blessings in my life.
Date Night Hesston Supper & Ice Cream with college friends Faith @ Home Training in Wichita last weekend Daddy Day with MollyChurch meetings looking to the futureVisits with church members throughout the week at the Perk, in my office, around town & at hospitalD6 DadsFamily Movie NightSoccer games

Not A Fan

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I had a great day of reading on Thursday and was able to finish two books: Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony & Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman.  If you would like to read more about Spiritual Parenting go here & here.  But today I am focusing on Not A Fan.  For those who attend Hesston MB, this will be our study when we move into "Transparent Relationships" as we move through the CHRIST acrostic. 

I highly recommend this book as well.  I had several posts about Not A Fan several weeks ago.  If interested, they are here, here, & here.  But Idleman finishes this book stronger than he began.  Don't get me wrong-I was intrigued from the minute I picked up the book.  But at the end, he hammers his point home.  His last section is about denying ourselves.  This is not a popular topic in Christian circles even when it is clearly biblical.  Here are the titles of the last 3 chapters: wherever, whenever, & whatever.  I will …

Spiritual Parenting

Yesterday, I switched up my routine a little and headed to Mojo's in Newton for my Thursday morning reading.  I had a great pumpkin spice latte and sat down to do some reading.  Currently, I am reading several books, but two were close to being finished so that became my goal.  I was able to finish Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony & Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman.  As I have been saying from the first few chapters, if you are a parent you need to read Anthony's book.

Let me start with Spiritual Parenting.  Tomorrow, I will post about Not A Fan.  Not only did I love this book, but it also was the "open door" to begin a conversation with someone at the Perk a few weeks ago.  For more on that story, go here.  Anthony does a great job of reminding parents of our true goal in parenting.  She backs that up with great practical ideas of how to do it.  Let me share a few quotes from the last few chapters.  Anthony writes, "Spiritual parents recognize the brevity o…

What's Next?

The theme for the D6 Conference this year was NEXT.  Brian Haynes shared his next steps on his blog. So, what is next for Hesston MB as a result of my attending the D6 Conference? 

Here are a few thoughts:
Always keep the gospel at the center of everything we do.  David Platt reminded us that God's kingdom is more important than our family.  Always return to the root rather than focus on side issues. Voddie Baucham challenged us to not spend all of our time fighting the hot button issues of the day (abortion, homosexuality, politics, etc.), but to remember the root of it all began in Genesis 3 with our sin.  Our only hope for victory in the culture war is the Promised Redeemer, Jesus.Always remember that we are called to make disciples.  For those with children, it starts with them.  For grandparents, it is discipling your grandchildren and children.  For those without children, it is discipling those around you.  We are all to make disciples.  This is the fruit of John 15.  Alway…

Calling All Men!

It's a D6 Dads week and I thought I would share a little from the book we are reading.  If you are a dad in the Hesston area, come and join us.  There are three times available to fit into your schedule: Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 6:45 p.m., or Thursdays at 9:00 p.m.

We are reading a book inspired by the movie, Courageous, called "The Resolution for Men" by the Kendrick brothers and Randy Alcorn.  If you have seen the movie (if you have not, you need to go), the book is based on the resolution the dads sign.  I am excited about how God will use this book to challenge us.  I am only two chapters in and I am already recommending it.  Here are a few quotes to get you thinking today.

"God's Word commands husbands and fathers to lovingly lead their homes.""An all-out assault has been declared against you as a husband and father." "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fa…

Are You Abiding?

Currently, Pastor Brad & I are reading through, "The Legacy Path" by Brian Haynes.  I have written a review of the book here. As I mentioned in that review, Chapter 2 is worth the price of the book in my opinion.  In it, Haynes takes us to John 15 to learn more about what it means to abide.  Before reading his words, he encourages us to go to John 15 and read & study this passage.  I have included it here for your convenience from the ESV:

1"I am thetrue vine, and my Father isthe vinedresser.2Every branch in me that does not bear fruithe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.3Alreadyyou are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you.4Abidein me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5I am the vine;you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is thatbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothi…

After Courageous

So, hopefully you went to the movies this weekend as part of Date Night Hesston or just to see a great movie.  As someone who now has seen the movie three times, I am amazed at what God does in me each time I see it.  My prayer for this movie is that once the credits play, people will not just say, "That was a good movie and continue life as is."  I am hoping the Holy Spirit will empower people to be who God has created them to be.  For some, this might mean reconciliation in damaged relationships, for others it might be a decision to follow Christ for the first time, or maybe for some it might require some changes in how we interact with God, our spouse, our children, or those with whom we are in relationship with.

Therefore, I want to share a a few opportunities with you while the movie is still clear in your minds.  First, if you were challenged to go deeper with God, we have several opportunities for you through Sunday School or small groups.  Currently, I am leading a cl…

Holy Spirit Empowered

Today, Pastor Brad began his month long series on what it means to be Holy Spirit Empowered.  Along with this, I am teaching a 7 week study based on Francis Chan's book, Forgotten God.  As I was preparing this week, I am excited to see how God is going to use this study.  It is full of Scripture and challenges our thinking in many ways. 

But I wanted to share a story of how I experienced Holy Spirit Empowerment this past week.  The story actually begins about 2 weeks ago.  I was at Lincoln Perk (I know you are surprised) and doing my weekly reading on Thursdays.  I was drinking coffee and reading Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony.  Then a guy approached me and asked about the book.  Eventually our conversation turned to parenting & I shared that I was a pastor and I would share some resources if he was interested.  He was so I took down his email and he left.  Immediately after he pulled out, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I should have prayed for him.

So, when …

Favorite Quotes from D6 Conference

Here are my favorite quotes from the D6 2011 Speakers:

Doug Fields said, "Church needs leaders who:
Can authentically say, Follow me as I follow Jesus.Walking & talking with JesusValue a collective visionAre acutely aware of the twisters impacting families.David Platt shared, "Our goal in parenting is not for our kids to get a great education, have great relationships, make a lot of money, etc. Instead, our goal in parenting is to follow a great God!"

Emerson Eggerichs said, "But in reality, how do men & women respond when in conflict? Men-Without respect, he responds without love.Women-Without love, she responds without respect."John McGee shared, "God used His Word, His Spirit, His People to speak into couple's lives."

Tim Kimmel said, "God is the best family ministry model we can find."
Dannah Gresh shared, "Our theology of sexuality is weak at best."

Ron Hunter said, "Some conversations you have with your kids wil…

My Response to Student Ministry Panel at D6

One of the sessions at D6 this year was a Student Ministry Panel from student ministers from a variety of churches.  You can view some of the dialog here.  While I agreed with much of the content, there was something missing. 

As a former youth pastor myself, I struggled with how to engage parents in ministry with students.  Several volunteered to help out with activities, but I was not sure how involved they were in passing on faith at home.  I tried seminars such Understanding Your Teenager and other parenting classes, but the only ones that showed up were parents that seemed to being doing well at home.  I knew there must be a better way.

I hoped that this panel would give me new ideas to share, but I heard a lot of the same "excuses" youth pastors have been using for years.  I realize that teenagers are separating from their parents, but does that mean the parent does not have influence any longer.  I know our teenagers need other voices in their lives so I agree youth m…

Interview via email with Mark Holmen about D6 tour

Mark Holmen will be coming to Countryside Christian Church in Wichita, KS as part of the D6 Tour on Oct. 1-2.  Hesston MB Church will be attending this seminar.  Here are some questions that I asked Mark Holmen via email.
What was key thing/event that led you to Faith @ Home?
Ultimately it was a change God made in my life through a survey that showed that parents, and what happens in the home when it comes to faith formation, is 2-3 times more influential than any church program.  When that sank in, I realized I needed to be a more faith@home focused leader where I spent as much of my time energy and resources focusing on helping people live out their faith@home as I was doing on getting them to church events and programs. 

Holmen has written a resource called Take It Home.  I asked Mark, how did you pick specific skills? We were looking for skills/behaviors that enhance your relationship with God.  For example, I believe you grow deeper in your relationship with God through prayer…

Way to go, fuzion!

I am so proud of our 5th & 6th graders which is called fuzion.  One of my favorite parts of this ministry is our monthly service projects.  As I read about pre-teen ministry, I discovered that at this age there is great potential for developing and using their gifts.  Therefore, I incorporated service into the DNA of this ministry. 

Tonight, a group of 24 fuzion students & 9 leaders headed to North Newton to fill MCC Kits.  For those who are unfamiliar with MCC Kits, they are bags of school supplies that go throughout the world.  They include 4 notebooks, 4 pencils, 12 colored pencils, an eraser, & a ruler.  Our fuzion students made 286 kits in a little over 30 minutes.  These kits will go to students in Bosnia, Iraq, Haiti, & Jordan. 

I was so proud as they worked really hard to get the kits done.  God is pleased with your service as well.  Way to go, fuzion!

Interview with Rob Rienow at D6

While at the D6 Conference, I had the privilege to interview Rob & Amy Rienow backstage. My questions and their answers are listed below.
I mentioned to Rob that our small group had completed Visionary Parenting and enjoyed it. Recently, I purchased Visionary Parenting: Encouragement for Single Parents. I asked Rob about that new resource. Rienow shared the heart behind this new resource.  His parents got divorced when he was in high school.  He also experienced a lot of pastoral ministry to single parents.
He continued sharing that single parents face particular challenges. In this resource, he talks plainly about how single parenting is an “impossible” job. There is just too much to do, and not enough hours in the day. So how do we need to respond? We choose what will get our best, and what will get less than our best. Rob then goes on to encourage and equip single parents to make the spiritual training of their children their top priority.
The resource also has a sec…